What mass of PVC can you get from a barrel of crude oil?

1 Answer
Feb 6, 2015

My guess is that you could get about 2.6 kg of PVC from a barrel of crude oil.

In the United States, PVC is not made from crude oil. It can be made more cheaply from other sources.

If PVC were made from crude oil, I would make a guess based on the following rough assumptions:

  • The density of crude oil is 0.873 kg/L.
  • You get about 18 kg of naphtha from 100 kg of crude oil.
  • You get about 25 kg of ethylene from 100 kg of naphtha.
  • You get 495 kg of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) from 1000 kg of ethylene.
  • You get about 90 kg of PVC from 100 kg of VCM

Put them all together and you get

#"1 bbl crude" × "42 US gal crude"/"1 bbl crude" × "3.79 L crude"/"1 US gal crude" × "0.873 kg crude"/"1 L crude" × "18 kg naphtha"/"100 L crude" × "25 kg ethylene"/"100 kg naphtha" × "459 kg VCM"/"1000 kg ethylene" × "90 kg PVC"/"100 kg VCM" = "2.6 kg PVC"#